Did you know that your property management style can determine whether you find the right tenants? Your reputation as a landlord has more to do with tenant screening than you might realize.
Some landlords get into the business by accident, or have managed one property at a time. The methods that may have worked in the short-term don’t always translate over the long haul.
Attracting good tenants reduces the time it takes to screen out the bad ones. If you want to make the most of your time and money, consider these advanced strategies for attracting and retaining the best tenants:
Landlord is a Customer Service Position
Ask any tenant and they’ll tell you that service matters — so much so that it may be the number one factor in choosing a new place to rent. Landlords can’t afford to build a reputation of unanswered repair requests or unruly tenants who disturb their neighbors.
Like any business, if the service is bad, profits will suffer.
Tenants tend to track the landlord’s level of property management, so make sure you set the stage for a good experience. Make it a priority to answer calls and resolve tenant complaints as soon as possible. Tenants need someone they can count on. Show by example, and tenants will naturally try harder to meet their end of the bargain.
Good Renters Need to Be Jazzed About the Property
One of the largest online apartment listing services, Apartments.com, conducted a survey of tenants last year. One of the findings is that roughly 60% of renters were dissatisfied with the property’s overall value. That’s a devastating statistic when you consider how easy it is for tenants to vent their frustration on the Internet.
Pride of ownership is a valuable asset, one that produces tangible results. Tenants who are excited about where they live will keep the property up, strive to pay rent on time, and refer their equally qualified friends when there is a vacancy to fill.
Show you care by keeping the property well-maintained. Imagine the reaction you will get if the tenant sees trash in the hallways or common areas when they first tour the property, or if they overhear unpleasant phone conversations with other tenants as they sit in the leasing office. Tidy and secure rentals with happy tenants will attract the best prospective new tenants.
Tenants Need to Weigh In
While surveys provide valuable information, some of the best insights about your property will come directly from your tenants.
Make it a point to interview tenants as they leave. That’s a great way to learn from mistakes and celebrate successes. Tenants are less likely to hide their feelings when you catch them as they are leaving or shortly thereafter.
The applicants who don’t become tenants are a vital piece of the puzzle. Give these prospects the opportunity to tell you what they didn’t like about the property. Keep notes and over time you can pick up on any trends.
Lease Renewals Often Mishandled
It’s vital to contact good tenants early on about renewing the lease. Otherwise, they’ve had a chance to start shopping around and they may have already made up their minds.
That’s hard to track if you don’t have a system in place. Start the process two or three months before the end of the lease term.
Equally important, don’t postpone needed maintenance and updates simply because a tenant renews. Develop a long-term property maintenance plan and stick to it, regardless of how long a tenant wants to stay. Renewing tenants should be a catalyst to making necessary repairs, not an impediment.
Hone your skills as a rental property manager, and you will reap the reward — a steady flow of qualified tenants coming your way.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.